As a new SaaS startup, it’s essential to build your online presence to attract new customers and make sales – and this starts with building your website.
However, to get your site seen by potential customers you need to rank highly on search engine results pages.
After all, 68% of all online experiences begin on a search engine. As such, search engine traffic typically makes up the biggest source of traffic for SaaS startups.
Though paid marketing tools such as PPC ads can be used to get your SaaS product in front of new eyes, using paid ads alone can be costly.
Having said this, paid ads can be a great supplement to fuel your SaaS startup’s growth. If you don’t have the liquidity to fund this kind of SaaS marketing strategy, Founderpath helps bootstrapped SaaS business founders to turn their monthly subscriptions into upfront cash.
But how do you get your website to the top of search engine results pages for free? The answer is SEO.
What is SaaS SEO?
SaaS SEO is the process of increasing traffic to the website of your software-as-a-service startup, ensuring your site receives high volumes of the right traffic.
SEO accomplishes this by optimizing your site according to the preferences of search engine algorithms. These algorithms decide where to place your SaaS startup on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Why is SEO Important for SaaS Startups?
Stronger brand positioning.
Being ranked alongside your biggest competitors – a.k.a. the brands everyone knows – positions your brand in the same space as these companies in the consciousness of your target market.
So, even if consumers have never heard of your brand before, by seeing it alongside brands they already know, they’re able to understand instantly what your SaaS startup is all about.
Managing to rank highly on search engine results enhances your brand reputation. If your brand is on the same page as huge brands in your niche, this automatically improves customer trust in your startup.
Also, the fact that a search engine is choosing to rank your site so highly conveys a positive message to prospective customers. After all, Google takes into account the expertise, quality, authority and trustworthiness of a site when deciding where it should rank on its results page.
SEO traffic is highly qualified.
As a business, it’s vital not only to generate traffic, but that the traffic generated is qualified.
This means that visitors to your site aren’t just browsers, they’re leads that are likely to convert.
Flick – a social media marketing brand – worked with SEO company Embarque to boost their traffic and conversion rates. Embarque noticed that Flick’s primary traffic source was their hashtag generator landing pages, yet their blog – though it didn’t produce much traffic – achieved the highest conversions by far.
By implementing a solid SEO strategy with Embarque, Flick were able to boost their organic search traffic to 9.6 million, with their blog as their primary source of traffic, maximizing conversion rate.
How to Use SEO to Grow Your SaaS Company.
1. Define Your Target Market.
SEO is about driving not only traffic, but the right traffic to your site.
To achieve this, you need to know and understand your target customer, so that you can effectively tailor your SEO to attract them. Creating buyer personas is a great place to begin in order to accomplish this.
Particularly with regards to SEO, you should consider what problems and/or needs your target customer is likely to have, and the kind of searches they’ll make, so you can try to rank for the keywords and topics most relevant to them.
2. Keyword research.
Keywords are essential to potential customers when finding your SaaS startup through an organic search.
There are a couple of things you need to be mindful of when choosing your keywords.
First, you should consider what your target customer is most likely to search, including the kind of problems they’re looking to solve, and what they want from a solution.
You should also be mindful of how much competition these words have; new startups have the best chance of ranking highly for keywords with less competition.
Though using less popular keywords may seem counterintuitive, it means your SaaS startup website won’t get lost on page two or three of the search engine results, behind the other more established SaaS brands in your niche.
3. Optimize Your Content.
Now that you’ve found the best keywords to help you achieve your goals, it’s time to use them to optimize your site’s content.
From every web page to each blog you post, every piece of content on your site should be optimized with the relevant keywords. This will help to draw in traffic, by ranking highly for potential customers’ queries on search engine results pages.
Use your keywords as much as you can without sounding unnatural (search engines will pick up on it if it does) and make sure to include them in subheadings, meta-descriptions and titles, if you can.
4. Content Production.
Another vital component in achieving SEO is regular content creation.
The newer a piece of web content is, the more favourably a search engine will rank it. This is why creating new content – such as blog posts – is paramount in keeping your SaaS startup high up on search engine results pages.
This goes for more than just new content, but any content on your site that has been recently updated. So, you should make it a priority to keep all content on your website regularly refreshed to generate even more traffic.
More than this, solving different customer queries and publishing industry-relevant news provides greater opportunity to rank for different keywords. This allows you to get your SaaS startup in front of the eyes of different segments of your target market.
In addition to helping your site’s SEO, by creating content that provides genuine value to consumers you enhance your SaaS startup’s brand reputation. Producing valuable, helpful and engaging content establishes trust in your brand and helps to position your SaaS startup as a thought leader in its niche.
5. Build up the backlinks to your site.
Backlinks connect one site to another. When another trusted website links to content on your website, it raises your site’s credibility and improves your SEO. This credibility encourages search engines to rank your site higher on their results pages.
When it comes to backlinks, you should aim to get as many as possible. However, the source of these backlinks is just as important to search engine algorithms as the volume.
Try to get your SaaS startup featured on credible, trusted sites in your niche; search for sites with high domain trust to build your portfolio of backlinks.
6. Run an SEO Audit on Your Site
A site audit is essential to identify the weak points in your SEO. An audit can show you whether your technical, on-page and keyword SEO is up to scratch, and indicate what you can do to make it better.
7. Edit Your Technical/On-Page SEO
It’s easy to get caught up with content-driven SEO and forget that poor technical/on-page SEO will destroy your SaaS startup’s chances of making it to the top of the search engine results page.
If your technical SEO isn’t up to standard, it doesn’t matter how thoroughly you implement other SEO strategies. Your site isn’t going to rank highly.
Here’s what you should keep an eye on:
- Site loading speed (if it’s longer than a second, people can bounce off)
- All links and redirects are working properly
- Bots are able to crawl your page
- URLs are properly formatted
- Meta-titles and descriptions are correct
By making sure the fundamentals of your page are working, you’ll provide a positive user experience. Which leads us nicely onto our next point.
8. Create a Stellar User Experience
To optimize your search engine results, you need to make sure that the people visiting your site have a great user experience (UX).
Part of Google’s algorithm to determine site rankings involves doing tests to gauge the quality of a site’s UX. This includes the site’s functionality and ease of use.
What’s more, if visitors to your site have a good experience they’ll stay on your site for longer – and this is another SEO-boosting factor that can improve your site ranking.
To get your SaaS startup in front of the eyes of your target market, SEO is vital.
Helping to raise your SaaS startup’s position on search results pages, drive more traffic to your site and maximize lead conversion, an SEO-optimized website is essential to your SaaS startup’s success.
Working with an SEO and content marketing specialist is well worth it. However, to a SaaS startup a lack of liquidity can get in the way of funding your SEO strategy. Founderpath provides financing to bootstrapped SaaS founders, giving you the upfront capital you need to fuel your SaaS startup’s growth, by turning your monthly subscriptions into cash. Give us a try for free today and see how we can benefit your business.